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Is The Safety Valve Actually Bad?

HeatingHelpHeatingHelp Posts: 285
edited June 20 in THE MAIN WALL
Is The Safety Valve Actually Bad?

There was nothing wrong with that pressure gauge. I sensed that because I have seen this happen before. I believe that you should never assume any device on a system is bad until you check everything.

Read the full story here


  • BradHotNColdBradHotNCold Member Posts: 32
    Reminds me of the time I kept changing “bad” spark plugs in a ‘57 Ford V8. Turned out there was a cracked distributor cap!
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Member Posts: 603
    I’ve had plenty of those moments. The difference was I was new to the trade, inexperienced. The guys changing these relief valves had over 20 years each. Or as the saying goes, one year of experience, 20 times.
    Never stop learning.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 14,795
    Thanks for sharing, Mike. Tell us more!
    Retired and loving it.
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Member Posts: 603
    Thanks for making it readable!

    Got plenty more to share.
    Never stop learning.
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 1,150
    Looking forward to it. Thanks, Mike!
  • rick in Alaskarick in Alaska Member Posts: 894
    When you have two of the same things "go bad" right away, look elsewhere. I try to step back at times like that, and just ask what else it could be, instead of assuming what it is.
  • retiredguyretiredguy Member Posts: 91
    When I was still working and not retired I would recommend that the manual reset high pressure control be mounted in a different tap in the boiler than the rest of the pressure controls. If the high limit would trip, everyone was aware that the control tree piping was plugged. I also would make sure that the control tree piping and "pigtail syphons"were removed,and cleaned and flushed during the mandatory annual state inspections. In my area steam safety valves had to be discharged to the outside of a building.
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Member Posts: 603
    @retiredguy I agree 100%. This particular brand boiler is a packaged boiler and the controls come installed that way, all on the same tree.

    To my knowledge, the safety valves for a high pressure boilers are supposed to discharge to outdoors in my area. These ones did not though.
    Never stop learning.
  • triggerhappy24triggerhappy24 Member Posts: 34
    Ok, I know I'm rather new to this so I have to ask. How should it look? I know the tree situation is bad, but for the life of me I can't picture how it should be? I believe the one at work have the tree and have run for many.....many years without a problem. I understand the point of the article but I'm trying to picture how they are all hooked up for correct operation. And now I have to look at the one at work to see what it looks like.
  • retiredguyretiredguy Member Posts: 91
    edited August 5
    @triggerhappy24, it doesn't matter how they look. If they came from the factory installed that way then that is OK. My main recommendation is to remove the whole tree and clean out the piping during any normal boiler inspection. If the tree piping is not cleaned and inspected on a regular basis then I would definitely add an extra manual reset high limit if the customer allows it. Also, many areas require that the safety valves be removed, inspected, tested and tagged by a facility licensed by the state. There can never be too much safety when working on any pressure vessel. Your life may depend on it. Ask any service tech who has been working on pressure vessels for years and they will tell you the same thing.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 11,235
    To go back to the underlying point of the article -- remember that one definition of insanity is trying the thing that doesn't work over and over in hopes that someday it might... one needs to look at the whole situation and figure out what the problem really is, rather than just putting a bandaid on the symptom!

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • PumpguyPumpguy Member Posts: 388
    Yep @Jamie Hall, the first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
  • triggerhappy24triggerhappy24 Member Posts: 34
    @Jamie I got that point and even thought that engineer may want to rethink his career for it. But I was just curious into how it should be is all!
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Member Posts: 603
    @triggerhappy24 to the best of my knowledge there is no regulation on how the controls should be installed. Obviously they need to be protected by a pigtail or piping the tree as a water trap.

    Lots of manufacturers ship the boilers with all the controls on the same tree. In theory there is nothing wrong with that - as long as the boiler is maintained properly. But that’s not reality and boilers get neglected. So the preferable option is to mount the high limit or operator on a different part of the boiler as there will be less of a chance of both becoming plugged up.

    So it is preferable - not required.
    Never stop learning.
  • triggerhappy24triggerhappy24 Member Posts: 34
    @Mike_Sheppard thank you!! That's what I was thinking, but being new to this field i didn't want my brain jumping to conclusions that where not right. I thought it was a great article about the definition of insanity. I just didn't see the best way to help this from happening again and i always like to know a solution to the problem

    Thanks again
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Member Posts: 603
    @triggerhappy24 the best solution is maintenance. The situation I described in the story never would have happened with proper maintenance.
    Never stop learning.
  • triggerhappy24triggerhappy24 Member Posts: 34
    In the short time I have been in this field it does amaze me how much maintenance, even the smallest, is neglected. Thanks for the article
  • retiredguyretiredguy Member Posts: 91
    edited August 10
    Nice Cleaver-Brooks boilers. I would like to tour the whole boiler room. Reading this story and the following comments bring back fond memories. I fell "in love" with steam. I sure do miss it.
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Member Posts: 603
    edited August 12
    @retiredguy they were nice indeed. In-need of a little TLC. But I got them back into shape.

    I must admit I am missing boilers like this as well right now. I left the boiler company I worked for for 12 years to come work for Daikin - an HVAC manufacturer. I've always wanted to know how to fix everything so now it is time to learn chillers and AC.

    I haven’t worked on a boiler like a Cleaver Brooks since May, and I feel like I’m having minor withdrawal. Lol. Daikin has a fair amount of boiler work, but most of it is on a much smaller scale. Lots of small condensing boilers, RBI and Lochinvar copper heat exchanger boilers, etc. Some small fire-tubes.

    But it will be worth it. I am making a lot of new connections here and am building my own boiler service division essentially. I will have techs working under my supervision, will be dealing directly with important customers, etc. I think it will be good experience to gather before I start my own business.
    Never stop learning.
  • triggerhappy24triggerhappy24 Member Posts: 34

    You'll really like these boilers than. These are the ones I work on every day.
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Member Posts: 603
    edited August 11
    @triggerhappy24 time to upgrade that thing and get rid of the linkage. On burners that size parallel positioning could save a fortune in fuel costs.
    Never stop learning.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,298
    This is why we install a plugged tee above every pigtail on our customers' boilers. With these, we can simply remove the plug and blow into the tee- if there is no resistance, you're good to go. The exception would be a pigtail on which a gauge is mounted- simply remove the gauge on these. On some jobs, we can actually hear air escaping from the main vents when blowing into the pigtail.

    Make your maintenance operations as easy as possible, and they're more likely to get done.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • triggerhappy24triggerhappy24 Member Posts: 34
    @Mike_Sheppard funny you say that. We just had one of the three upgraded with new controls and the guy that installed it said the same thing. My boss has had a quote in for the last 3 years for that to be upgraded. Problem is the county, government buildings take a long time for upgrades. Basically, if it's working why replace it? :/ they are all about saving money and efficiency, until they see the price tag. They will save it for 8 years out to build money. When the 8 years comes we have to go back out to bid and quote, and find out the equipment is no longer available or out of date so the whole process starts over again. It's a little frustrating
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Member Posts: 603
    @triggerhappy24 you can have the manufacturer take data and give you a breakdown of the possible return on investment. We did one job that had three boilers. Their budget only allowed for one boiler to be upgraded to parallel positioning to start with. It was around a $100,000 upgrade. They saved enough money in fuel costs in one year to pay for the other two boilers to be upgraded the next year.
    Never stop learning.
  • triggerhappy24triggerhappy24 Member Posts: 34
    @Mike_Sheppard that's how the controls are getting installed now. As far as I was told. Unfortunately the whole plant, plus 8 buildings are out of date( we have 13 total) . About 25 to 30 Years over I believe and outdated equipment are building faster then updates. We have a load shedding company come in every year. Its nice to see. But then the country see the numbers to do all that and I guess just ignore it. As I said frustrating. It just sounds like they like giving my boss the run around?
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